King Edward VIII (later known as the Duke of Windsor after he abdicated the throne in 1936) and wife Wallis Simpson‘s associations with Adolf Hitler took center stage in the second season of The Crown.
And in a new biography about Wallis’s controversial life and loves, the couple’s real-life connections to Adolf Hitler are getting a closer look. Wallis In Love is penned by Andrew Morton, the biographer who famously blew the lid of off Princess Diana‘s private unhappiness within the royal family and in her marriage to Prince Charles in the 1992 book Diana: Her True Story. In the new book — which is excerpted in this week’s PEOPLE — he looks at one of the 20th century’s most scandalous figures, whose engagement to King Edward VIII led him to abdicate the throne in order to marry her.
In the year after the abdication, Wallis and the Duke of Windsor left England, where they were social outcasts, and fled to France in exile. (They were forbidden from returning to the U.K. without an invitation from the monarch.) Living in France, they then went on a tour of Germany, where they joined Hitler for tea.
Morton writes that Wallis tried to flirt with Hitler, and found his eyes “magnetic, burning with a particular fire.” However, her attempts at flirtation weren’t returned, leading her to conclude following their meeting: “I decided he did not care for women.”
The Duke of Windsor harbored sympathy for Hitler, which furthered his disgrace as a social outcast. He reportedly said of the Nazi dictator: “I have never thought Hitler was such a bad chap.”
And according to one of Morton’s sources, Wallis and the Duke of Windsor agreed with some of Hitler’s most horrifying beliefs.
Dr. Gaea Leinhardt, whose stephfather knew Wallis and the Duke of Windsor, said of the pair: “My parents were horrified by their dinner table talk, where they made it perfectly clear that the world would have been a better place if Jews were exterminated.”